President's Message

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World Lung Day: Join the Call

June 2017
Marc Moss, MD

Marc Moss, MD

Each year, three million people die from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, making it the third leading cause of death worldwide. Lung cancer kills 1.6 million people annually. Acute lower respiratory tract infections are among the top three causes of death and disability among children and adults, leading to an estimated 5 million deaths each year. And approximately 334 million people suffer from asthma globally — 14 percent of whom are children. These alarming statistics come from a new report issued by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, of which the ATS is a founding member.

View more in our advocacy video, and spread the word with your colleagues.

“The Global Impact of Respiratory Diseases” highlights five lung diseases which are among the most common causes of death in the world — COPD, asthma, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and lung cancer. With dangerous health threats such as climate change and air pollution accelerating the burden of lung disease, there is an urgent need to spotlight lung health.

This past May at the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, FIRS launched the “Charter for Lung Health” to call attention to this global, and growing, problem. It also calls for recognition of Sept. 25 as World Lung Day. An officially recognized annual event devoted to respiratory disease would help focus attention and resources on an often overlooked, but very real, threat to global health.

The ATS joins this call for action. Our goal is to secure 100,000 signatures of support from health care professionals and organizations. We will then urge the World Health Organization to consider a similar designation.

I urge you to add your name to the cause. Together with our colleagues from around the world, we can help reinforce the threat respiratory disease poses to world health and global development.

Join us, sign the Charter for Lung Health.

Last Reviewed: August 2017